We strongly encourage students to set aside money from their part-time jobs or summer earnings to help manage the initial costs associated with applying to schools of their choice. A student applying to multiple schools could spend upwards of $200 just on admission applications, standardized tests and CSS Profile fees alone.
(Psst! For low-income students, there are waivers available for most costs you encounter prior to submitting your admission deposit! Read on about the fees and waivers available.)
There is a fee associated with registering and taking the SAT and ACT. As of 2011, registering for the SAT is $49. The ACT is $49.50. However, you may find that you could be eligible for a fee waiver. In order to receive a fee waiver from either organization, the student must pick up a fee waiver application from their school counselor. If you are a home-schooled student, you must provide proof of eligibility to your local high school counselor. Typically, to be eligible for the waiver the student must meet one of these criteria:
- Is junior or senior in high school
- Is enrolled or eligible to be enrolled in a free or reduced-price lunch program based on family income
- Is enrolled in a program for the economically disadvantaged (for example, AVID or a TRIO program such as Upward Bound).
Score Reporting Fee
If you are eligible to have your standardized testing fee waived based on criteria outlined above, you automatically are given the option to report your scores for free.
Admission Application Fees
Most colleges are willing to waive a student's application fee if the student qualified for a standardized testing fee waiver. When you qualify for a fee waiver through the SAT, they will provide the student with up to four application fee waivers. If you find that four is not enough or you don't have these on hand, simply contact the admissions office by phone or email and let them know you qualified for a standardized testing fee waiver, and find out what they would like you to do. Many times it involves simply putting your request down on paper either by writing a formal letter or by sending an email documenting the request. Even if you didn't qualify for a standardized testing fee waiver, the school may still allow an application fee waiver based on other compelling conditions as well, so feel free to contact the admissions office if you are concerned about being able to afford the application fee.
CSS Profile Fee
The most common financial aid form, the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), is a free application and should never be paid for. If you would like free assistance filing this form, you can call The Center for College Planning at 1.888.7.GRADUATE x119. Another possible form you may need to file during the financial aid process is the CSS Profile. The application is maintained by the Collegeboard and does have a fee associated with filing. The fee for the initial CSS Profile application and one college or program report is $25. Additional reports are $16 per school. Fee waivers are granted automatically — based on the information entered on the PROFILE application — to students who are first-time college applicants and are from families with very low incomes and assets. This waiver covers the application fee and the reporting fees for up to six colleges or scholarship programs.
If you experience any other fees that you feel may cause a hardship, always call the admissions office of that institution to discuss if anything can be done to eliminate or lower that expense.